Journalism in the Public Interest

Forced Pooling: When Landowners Can’t Say No to Drilling

Gas drillers are using a powerful legal tool to force reluctant landowners to cooperate.

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May 23, 2011, 11:51 p.m.

I’m not vetoing an Article V convention.  I am, rather, insisting that you have a plan “B”.

Consider the fact that the Supreme Court has already attacked the Fourth Amendment and ruled that all an authority has to do to bust down your doors is claim to have smelled marijuana and the sound of a flushing toilet or “scurrying around”.  That ruling is extensible to any other illegal activity - present, or future.  How do you scientifically disprove an authority’s word about what they smelled?  How do you scientifically disprove what an authority claims to have heard?

Consider further that this Supreme Court took the giant leap of naming corporations “people” with rights….there is <b>no</i> Constitutional authority for any judge anywhere in this country to grant an inanimate object rights - but they did it anyway.

Posit, now, an Article V convention that resulted in an Amendment that interfered with Big [_____]‘s greed…with the greed of the wealthy conservatives who are slowly throttling democracy in the United States of America.  Consider, again, the recent history of actions by this Supreme Court.

How could you reasonably conclude that this Supreme Court wouldn’t turn right around and declare said new Amendment un-Constitutional?  Remember, they do not need precedent to do the bidding of the conservatives.  They do not need Law to do the bidding of the conservatives.  They do not need to craft their rulings to conform to the any known concept of justice to do the bidding of the conservatives.

They just do what the conservatives want period.

Now comes the deadly part:  Say they’ve struck down this new Amendment.  Do you think for a minute that - having set their own precedent - they wouldn’t strike down the rest of the Amendments?  At least those which threatened the conservatives’ ability to thrust the American people into financial slavery or worse?

There is no such thing as “The third time is the charm.” when it comes to betrayal.  Having betrayed the American people twice, this Supreme Court will only find it easier to betray America again.  Or worse.

You better have a plan “B”.


May 24, 2011, 9:57 a.m.

Interesting story, but is there any proof of the causal relationship between the drilling and Mr. Todd’s discovery of methane?

I have methane in my water.
Does that mean Esso is drilling on my land?

It rained today and my goose hatched an egg.
If it rains tomorrow will my goose hatch another egg?


May 24, 2011, 12:13 p.m.

ibsteve2u — First, let me say that I’m seen your pseudo-name on ProPublica many times, so I know you savor our First Amendment rights with a passion.  I applaud you for being a ‘ProPublican’ follower and commentator!  That said, consider pouring some of your energy into the Article V Amendments Convention cause before the First Amendment is only a talkstory you tell your great grand children.  Your voice, intelligently presented needs to be heard along with the thousands/millions of other concerned sovereign citizens.

No one can veto it, especially Congress, who is doing just that illegally.  See the last question/comment if you’re in a hurry for a Plan B.

This is legislating from the bench, it should not be allowed; if SCOTUS is so well versed in high law, then they need to make an effort to resolve the LAW by handing it down to our legislative body: Congress.  Let them take the voter retort in the next election if they can’t write law that’s clear, concise and comprehensive.

I grew up in the ‘60s/‘70s in Southern California near the border — when Marijuana lids were $10 for a five-finger quantity — so I have seen the whole “pot-head” and “hippies” zoo, including the ego-seeking law enforcement personnel trying to make their career.  In the meantime, alcoholics are hardly preyed upon like that, as the kill and maim hundreds of thousands.

It was an asinine decision!  But all the more reason to write an amendment to circumvent personhood of the corporation; an amendment that’ll make it perfectly clear what the initial law meant before the corporcracy avalanche began.

Point well taken.  Many amendments will interfere with the greedy, but will attract the hearts ‘n’ minds of the sovereign citizens.  I would give my life to America and my fellow Americans rather than live under a systematic plan that approves financial slavery.  So I will fight.  These people need to be taken to task sometime — it might as well be now as later.  If you’ve got a really good reason to wait, I’m listening.

Nothing would surprise me about the SCOTUS; that’s why well written and comprehensive amendments need to be proposed—perhaps an amendment that included strict term limits for them, ending forever lifetime appointments.  Also, no more legislating from the bench!

The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) does not have the lawful authority, under our Constitution, to declare an amendment un-Constitutional; however, if I am correct, they can interpret the legality of parts of an amendment after it has been ratified by 75% of the sovereign citizens of this Republic.

What do conservatives want?  The same thing as progressives — a program that’s well managed by good administrators, responsibly counseled by trained therapists AND funded at a State level so the feds don’t continue to screw up everything they touch.  It’s a start.

Even this decadent Supreme Court hasn’t the cajones to try such a broad-brush approach — keep in mind that an amendment is first proposed by a State, then submitted through Congress for ratification by 38 of the 50 States (75%).  If ratified it becomes high law, and subject to scrutiny by the Supreme Court.  That’s WHY any and all amendments MUST be written by our brightest and best.  That pits 75% of the sovereign citizens behind the ratified amendment and possibly against an assault from SCOTUS.

Slavery is already here.  Financial slavery in the form of usury, under-education and/or vocational training; providing a huge pool of hamburger flippers, as it were.

Absolutely TRUE.  That’s why, as the sovereign citizens of these united States we need to issue a PINK SLIP to each and every member of the Supreme Court, and start fresh with new job descriptions.

Not me alone, for you too are in this fight up to your neck.  Plan B falls under the Constitution too — ibsteve2u, it’s the Second Amendment.  But before it denigrates to that level, practice writing well thought-out amendments (like Article I, Article II and Article V.  And join the others!

I’m seeking contributing authors for my website.  A few hundred more petition-signers might be nice too — individuals patriotic enough to participate in taking our Republic back from the edge of oblivion.

DuBose Fleming

May 31, 2011, 4:52 p.m.

Most of the “reports” I have seen on fracing and methane have been more editorials with a political slant than true reporting.  Methane is a naturally-occurring gas and although I am not ruling out the possibility of methane ever getting into the drinking water, I do not believe could possibly be as horiffically prevalent as the articles would lead us to believe. Hopefully, we are all smart enough to read between the lines in any story and discern what is being touted as “fact” when it is likely on speculation. 

What I would give for old fashioned “unbiased news reporting” in lieu of the editorials and politically-slanted news we get now.


June 4, 2011, 9:08 a.m.

I’ve lived around hydrofracking for 10 years and there has never been a problem, only positive results.

This publication is hand-in-glove with the oil industry, and would like to see the natural gas industry die a slow death.

Consider the source, people.


June 6, 2011, 1:54 p.m.


“This publication is hand-in-glove with the oil industry”???

lolll…should watch that; when you say something incredulous, it destroys credibility.

Ann McCampbell

June 12, 2011, 12:16 p.m.

Thanks for shedding some light on the oil and gas extraction practices and potential hazards, but I don’t think you quite understand the “forced pooling” situation.  Your chart of state pooling laws says “A legal tool called forced pooling allows drilling companies to gain access to minerals beneath prviate property, even if the landowners object.”  But forced pooling has nothing to do with surface property owners (aka “landowners”).  Unless they also own mineral rights under their property, they never have a say about drilling.  Surface owners only own the surface property, sometimes down to 10 feet.  Mineral right owners own the right to extract minerals from approximately 10 feet below the surface to the center of the earth.  Forced pooling is something that happens among the mineral right owners only, such that if enough mineral right owners agree to lease property to a driller in a given area, then the other mineral right holders of that area are forced to go along.


June 12, 2011, 1:24 p.m.

Ann McCampbell emoted:  “Mineral right owners own the right to extract minerals from approximately 10 feet below the surface to the center of the earth.”

Without going into the calculus of conical sections of the sphere that is the earth and their impact upon exactly what a mineral rights holder owns “down to the center of the earth”, I would add that a curious loophole exists:

If the substance you wish to harvest can be made to flow - i.e., it is a liquid like oil or water or a gas like methane or can be…altered…with the proper solvent - and you get there “the firstest with the mostest” then you can steal all of the adjacent property owners’ “share” of that substance…to include the “share” of adjacent nations.  (I would suggest asking Saddam Hussein’s opinion, but he appears to be unavailable for comment.)

For some reason the various industries don’t talk about that much…about just how lucrative poking a hole in the proper place can be, especially if you know the underlying geological formations and the adjacent property or mineral rights owners do not.

‘Course, that lack of discussion undoubtedly results from the fact that honesty has so thoroughly percolated throughout the extraction and mining industries over their illustrious histories that they just automatically do the right thing without giving it a second thought, thereby obsoleting any need to discuss the issue.

(Besides, ain’t nobody going around validating the direction, extent, and depth of the frack, eh?  And fracking is, after all, “an inexact technology”.)

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This article is part of an ongoing investigation:

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The promise of abundant natural gas is colliding with fears about water contamination.

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